Archive | May, 2014

Weekly Vinyl – Renaissance

31 May


This is progressive rock royalty. Anybody who listened to progressive rock listened to Renaissance. The voice, Annie Haslam’s voice, was so distinctive and gorgeous that it was hard to dislike.
The music was a mix of classical and folk motives covered with a
soupçon of rock. Not too much roll though. This is music to sit to. To contemplate with. To drift off into a peaceful slumber. Like a rolling brook carrying water from a springtime shower the sound is entirely pleasant and mesmerizing.
I try to imagine different singers singing this material and I could only come up with one that would probably do this music justice – Kate Bush. That being said I would have loved to hear Janice Joplin sing some of these tunes. Or Nina Hagen. Or Beth Gibbons from Portishead. Or even having Courtney Love screech these ballads out.
The latter singer would probably be great for the song Midas Man. This is my favourite song on the album – but not because it has lyrics about King Midas and his lust for gold. When I first heard this song a muffler shop called Midas Mufflers was advertising quite heavily and I thought the juxtaposition was wonderful.


Weekly Wine – Montalto Nero

28 May

SONY DSCMontalto Nero D’Avola Cabaret Sauvignon
14% ABV

I wasn’t really expecting much here. An inexpensive wine from Italy. Sicily to be exact. It had a high alcohol content, so I figured that this wine was potent and putrid.
I was also rather exhausted as I opened this wine. I was hopeful but despondent. I felt like having a drink but was unsure if it would raise my mood.
This wine is all right. A bit sour. The dryness is a bit pronounced. But the flavours are pleasant. I take several more sips trying to find something negative to latch on to. But I can’t.
Perhaps the alcohol is affecting me? It is just my second glass so that can’t be it.
As I float my way down to the inside of this bottle, some of the true character emerges. It sits heavy on the palate. Not just the palate but the whole mouth. It is not so bad as unrefined. It mentions on the label that it was aged in oak barrels (French and American) for three months and this I guess is this wines quandary.
It has the makings of a great wine but is just not quite there.
A a nine buck wine it is wonderful.



27 May

Voting is a funny thing.
It is the basis of democracy – stating yea or nay on an issue, candidate or proposition.
It is fascinating that so many people in prosperous and stable democratic countries take this basic act for granted and do not fulfil this right and privalege. It is not a duty – it is a privalege if you honesgrly think about it.
My heart’s homeland Ukraine just had an election. They are in a state of invasion. A foreign power has annexed a large swath on the country and is funding/provocating well armed insurectiuon in the country.
And yet…
In spite of ballots being burnt by the Putin backed thugs.
In spite of ballot boxes being smashed by the Putin backed thugs.
In spite of heavily armed Putin backed thugs intimidating local polling stations.
In spite of lies propagated by Putin’s media lakeys.
In spite of an electorate that has seen political and corporate lies and corruptions that cannot be imagined by most in the “west”.
About 60 per cent (60%) of the population came out to vote.
That’s better than the EU votes that happened the same day.
That’s better than any US turnout in living memory.
That’s better than most Canadian elections.
That will probably be a better turn out that these elections that we will have in Ontario in June.

And I ordered signs from each of the three parties contesting the election.
I got a big sign from one and a small one from another.
A third party has not come through in one week. Do they really want my vote?
No one is invading Ontario.
And I am worried that a party has not given me a sign.

Awry Pole

25 May

I know that this is not a pole. It is a column. But awry column sounds odd.
Much like this column that I spotted at a rest stop on Ontario’s Hwy 401 just outside of London Ontario.
This was not the way it was designed as  all the other columns don’t have this kink.
I suppose that it’s structurally sound…

Weekly Vinyl – Trio

23 May

Trio and Error

Most people know the German minimalist band Trio from their big hit DaDaDa.
That song is on this album.
Second song on the B side.
It is a good song. Catchy. It stands out in the album. This is probably due to the familiarity of the song. The song is not definitive of the album.
This album is a minimalist post punk wet dream.
It is just guitar, vocal and drums. On occasion a cheesy keyboard cuts in for diversion and amusement.
The words are simple – a cross of 50s rock and Ian Dury perhaps. The German lyrics might be more complex, I don’t understand them, But I don’t think so.

Trying to pick my favourite song to wax poetic is difficult. It’s a cliché to say that every song here is a hit, especially since DaDaDa is on the album. It is a weird comparison to make but this album is kind of like a Peter Gabriel album. One or two hits but each piece of music is so solid it is scary.
Trio is a band that was overshadowed by its one huge mega-hit. A shame … and a blessing.

Weekly Wine – Piat D’or

21 May

SONY DSCPiat D’or Merlot
13% ABV
$9.95 (LCBO)

This wine was, and is, a standard cheap, inexpensive, plonk. It is a rudimentary wine that does not offend. It does not really entice love, admiration, respect or praise either.
It is a wine.
I am finding it difficult to describe this wine. It is late. I am tired.
This wine is remarkable for being unremarkable.
There are no sour notes in this wine.
There are no notable features in this wine.
This is a wine I would recommend to someone who has never had wine before. It has a wine-grape flavour without any complexities.
There are no harsh flavours. There is no unpleasant after taste.
It is a wine.
It is French.
The only drawback of this wine is that many people have bought and drank this wine. They know it and know the price. So serving it might get some odd looks from some people.
It is best not to invite these people as this wine is good.

But good.



18 May


Pinstripes make a car look cool. Fast. Dangerous.
I’m at a loss for words.
I do want a variation on the theme. Big panels of these faux-embroidery to slather my car in. Kinda like the old woody vehicles of days gone past.
This would make my car look strange. Unbalanced.
It would hide the rust and scratches.

Weekly Vinyl – Herb Alpert

16 May

Whipped Cream & Other Delights
Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass

In my youth I had a profound distaste to this type of music. I found it to be formulaic, unoriginal and soulless.
Not much has changed. It is a soundtrack to a bad 60s movie. It is the soundtrack one hears in one’s head as they walk into a seedy hotel or restaurant that has not changed its decor since the late 60s or early 70’s. I never watched “That 70s Show,” but I could imagine that this music would have been played by the parents in the show.
Looking for something to like I decide to listen to the song Love Potion #9. It is listed on the cover. However it does not appear on the record.
There is a simple explanation. I got this in a “take all the records for 5 bucks,” at a garage sale. The album is actually called Warm, from 1969. The cover is as pictured.
Perhaps my opinion of the music would change had the right album. Perhaps not.
The album I have has a cover of the Beatles’ Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da. A questionable choice of Beatles material, but this version is unlistenable.
I shudder to think what will happen when hipsters rediscover Herb Alpert and start listening to his music for the ironic value.

Weekly Wine – Candidato

14 May

SONY DSCCandidato Oro
13% ABV
$7.70 (LCBO)

This wine confuses me.
It is inexpensive. It is really, really inexpensive. In fact it is bloody cheap.
I though this was going to be fun. I get to really be mean and finally lay into a wine for being really bad.
But its good. Remarkably good. Better than some wines that cost dollars more. Better than some wines that I have had that were double the price.
The thing here is the grapes. Tempranillo and garnacha. Nice spicy grapes that have a distinct flavour and are found in some less expensive wines. I love these grapes.
The wine is aged in oak for six months according to the label. I guess this is why it is so pleasant.
I’m also confused about the fact that there is a date of 2010 on it but I’m not sure if that is the date of production or just a marketing/design element. This would make the wine nearly four years old. Perhaps this helped the wine settle into itself. The LCBO website does not list a year. Then again, the bottle states 13% ABV while the site has 12.5% listed.
Whatever. This is a good wine. It even comes corked.

Narvik night

11 May


This was taken nearly seven years ago when luck and providence found me in Narvik, Norway. I was leaving a bar, Route 66 if I remember correctly, after last call. It was still light out and there was no where to go but bed. Nice to be north of the Arctic circle. This is a view of the harbour from around my hotel.